The church plant in Philippi

1I am getting ready to teach our kids this coming Sunday about the Apostle Paul’s Second missionary journey. Part of that journey included a church plant in the city of Philippi. As we saw when Paul was on his first missionary trip, he did not set out to plant churches. He was called by God to go and make disciples. The churches were formed as a result of people being discipled. This is the model for church planting. The modern approach is exactly backwards. We seek to plant churches and then disciple people once they become part of the church. Our modern form of church has much to learn from the Biblical approach. There are many areas where we are far from the Bible in our approach to modern ministry.  Continue reading

Choosing a marriage partner

coppia di fediLast night, I was blessed to listen to a sermon preached by my mentor, Vasile Filat. I first heard this message about 11 years ago when I was living in Moldova, learning how to be a missionary. He preached it again a few days ago at a church in Bucharest Romania. Someone was gracious enough to film it and put it online. As I listened last night, I was blessed once again by the message and I was also blessed with memories from my time in Moldova. I would like to share the message with you here and I hope that you will be as blessed as I was.

Choosing a marriage partner is one of the major choices that we all want to make in this life. We generally go through years of schooling to get trained for life yet, this aspect is often neglected. Is there a plan laid out in the Word of God for choosing a marriage partner? Do I just need to hope that I get “lucky” and pick the right one? Am I at the whims and desires of my deceitfully, wicked heart? We say things like, “the heart wants what it wants and I cannot stop it. Besides, you cannot control who you fall in love with”. Let’s take a look at a love story in Genesis 24, the story of Isaac and Rebecka. There are 10 principles that we can learn from this passage about choosing a marriage partner. Continue reading

Striving to live a disciplined life

disciplineIt has been a lot of fun teaching through II Thessalonians. I have taught this book many times and, each time I teach through it, I learn new things about God and new things about myself.

If you have been following this series, you are aware of the previous lessons and what they teach. If you have not been following the series, take a moment to play a little catch up by reading the following articles.

  1. The importance of communication
  2. Genuine faith endures persecution
  3. Concerning the Day of the Lord
  4. The Church and the Day of the Lord 
  5. Praying for your disciples

The previous lesson focused on prayer, specifically, praying for your disciples, that they would grow in their knowledge of the Word of God, that they would grow in their faith, that they would grow in their love, and that they would continue making more disciples.  Continue reading

Appreciate your spiritual leaders

thank-you-card-lettering-leo-gomezI just listened to a wonderful sermon preached by my mentor, Vasile Filat. I am currently listening to it again so that I can translate it into English for this article so that you can be blessed by it the way that I was.

How much do you appreciate your spiritual leaders? Do you have spiritual leaders/mentors? God has orchestrated the Christian life to be one of a person having a mentor, being  a mentee, and then becoming a mentor while still being mentored. This process is laid out for us in Matthew 28. We see it explained by the Apostle Paul in II Timothy 2:2. Paul was mentored by Jesus. Paul mentors Timothy. As Timothy is being mentored, he begins to mentor others. Those whom Timothy mentors begin to mentor others. Jesus –> Paul –> Timothy –> new disciples –> their disciples. Unfortunately, there are many in the church who have never experienced God’s amazing plan of being discipled. Even if you do not have a direct mentor, you have a spiritual leader if you are part of a local church. Paul explains this in Ephesians 4. The spiritual leaders pour into the lives of the members and the members serve one another and together, reach out to the community to make disciples. Continue reading

Paul’s Missionary Journey

fullsizerenderThis coming Sunday we are going to learn about Paul’s first missionary Journey in Acts 14. I am excited for our kids because they are learning to discover the Truth of the Word of God for themselves. The valuable, basic Bible study tools that they are learning will stick with them for the rest of their lives and equip them to be able to open God’s Word at any time and hear directly from Him. Over the past month, we have covered Acts 4, Acts 8, Acts 9, and Acts 10. It has been neat to see how the Lord has worked in and through the lives of His disciples. He has given each of His followers the gift of the Holy Spirit and told them to be witnesses everywhere they find themselves. We saw Peter and John do this in Acts 4. We saw Philip do this in Acts 8. Paul began to do it once he encountered Christ and was born again. We ran in to Peter once again in Acts 10 when he shares the Gospel with Cornelius and a house full of Gentiles. Now, we are going to shift our focus to Paul and his missionary journeys.  Continue reading

Praying for your Disciples

is4086rf-00038636-001Over the past month, I have been teaching through II Thessalonians with one of my many Bible study groups. It is so neat to study the Scriptures with others and discover the Truth of the Word of God for ourselves. II Thessalonians teaches us how to plan our time knowing the the Lord will one day return. Here are a few of the things that we have been learning as we have walked through II Thessalonians together.  Continue reading

The Urgency of the Gospel

photoI was trained by some of the best disciple makers in the world and, as they were investing in me, they invested the idea of the urgency of the Gospel. As I have grown in my faith by walking with the Lord, and as I have grown in the ministry, I have noticed that there are many “brothers” and “sisters” in Christ who have a much different philosophy of ministry than the one I was taught. Part of that includes a lack of urgency when it comes to making disciples and getting the Gospel out to the lost and dying world. I would like to examine the Scriptures and focus on the idea of the urgency of making disciples because the days are evil. Continue reading

Genuine Faith removes Idols

abraham-friend-of-god2As I have been spending time in the Word of God today, studying to learn more of who God is and what I am really like, I discovered an important Truth that I would like to share with you here in this article. I am preparing to teach this message on Wednesday to my staff. This school year, we are learning about Abraham as we teach these truths to the children at Treasure Trust Club. It is so neat to see the children begin to understand how to begin a real relationship with God, the way that Abraham did. It is also neat to see how we learn to walk with God the exact same way that Abraham did. This lesson covers the topic of faith and idols. I recently taught a lesson on faith and fear, about how they cannot coexist in the same place. One will drive out the other. The same is true with faith and idols. When they clash, one will drive out the other. In this article, we are going to examine Abraham’s faith and his battle with his sin nature. If we are ever going to have success in our battle with our sin nature, we must learn how to spot the idols in our lives because, these idols give power to our sin nature. Faith in Christ removes our sin nature’s power. Idols cause us to empower our sin nature that continues to dwell in us. Let’s take a look at Abraham’s example and see what we can learn about faith, idols, and the work of God in our lives.  Continue reading

Jesus calls people to follow Him

gospel_of_mark_chapter_10-5_bible_illustrations_by_sweet_mediaWhen studying the Bible, I always encourage people to remove their denominational glasses  because they can distort the clear teachings of the Scriptures and cause people to read into the Biblical text what is not there, or, overlook what is there. It’s called a bias and we all have one based on our experiences. It is difficult to do but it is a necessity if we really want to get to the heart of the message of what God is trying to communicate with us. I usually begin an article or message on this topic with Matthew 28:19-20. It is the clearest teaching of our Lord that demonstrates that followers of Jesus Christ are to make disciples. The apostles were to go to nonbelievers and invite them in to the process of discipleship. Part of that process is evangelism. Other parts of the process of discipleship are repentance, faith, and dedication to following Jesus Christ. This is a packaged deal that Jesus clearly communicates in His teachings in Matthew 4 and Mark 1, when He calls the 12 to follow Him. They are nonbelievers. They hear the message of the Gospel. They repent, believe in Christ, and dedicate themselves to following Jesus Christ. There is one exception. Judas became a follower of Jesus Christ but he never repented or believed. He was never born again. He was like the majority of the crowds who “followed” Jesus. They were doing it for selfish reasons. Some wanted another free meal. Others wanted to be entertained with a miracle. Judas followed because he was able to steal money from the ministry funds.  Continue reading

The Church and the Day of the Lord

file-saint_paul_writing_his_epistles_by_valentin_de_boulogneI am preparing to teach the next lesson in the study of II Thessalonians and we are going to examine the relationship of the church to the Day of the Lord. This is teaching number 4 in the series.

We have seen that it is very important for the followers of Jesus Christ to remain excellent students of the Scriptures so that we will not have our faith shaken by false teachings or by false teachers. Paul is writing to the Thessalonians to encourage them and to get them back on track so that they can remain faithful to the Lord, serving Him by preaching the Gospel in the midst of persecution and suffering. One of the areas in which the Thessalonians had been led astray was in the area of the Day of the Lord. There are many people today who are confused when it comes to the rapture, the Day of the Lord, and the Coming of the Lord. These are three distinct events yet often lead to great confusion for people who attend church or read the Bible. We fully covered the idea of the rapture in the last lesson so I will not get into explaining it in this lesson. Continue reading